This story happened a little while ago but as I was reading through my ideas for blogs, it still rang a note of import to me. In my life and my business, I realize that others are necessary for anyone to succeed. Sometimes that may mean a paycheck and at other times it doesn't. It's at the times where it doesn't when you can really decide what matters to you and to others you watch. Here is the story:
I was part of a group benefits meeting. I was offering my usual bevy of voluntary and supplemental coverage as I was working with a colleague. The group wanted to take some moments for their employees to understand how their health insurance had changed, so they scheduled a group meeting for all of us to present what we had to offer and how the policies worked.
The main health carrier came out to do their part. Before the meeting even started, we noted that this representative did not want to be there. That was understandable as it was indeed early in the morning. To also understand this attitude, you have to know that this representative was getting paid a salary no matter what so he obviously felt his presence was more than enough (which shone through his attitude as well). Confiding in fellow insurance agents was one thing, but then he went on to speak to this group of blue collar, hard working, clock-punching men who just knew they had health insurance. As he spoke, it was obvious that he did not know the plan he was presenting. He hesitated and verbally stalled his way through a very rough 20 minutes of reading to a group of grown men. He even went so far as to state things that were not even true. It was a trainwreck.
My colleague and I were dumbfounded. We stated how we could have saved everyone this embarrassment and done the presentation ourselves. We were embarrassed for the rep and we were upset for the employees. The rep didn't care. He was getting paid. But the people he was speaking to needed him to be the expert. His company needed him to show some pride and knowledge. None of that happened because he showed he could have cared less.
So, as we serve others in whatever capacity we find ourselves, we can instill some ways of serving no matter what. Here are my top 3:
1 - Give without a return. When you do what you do or are asked for help, try and do whatever you can without expectation of the favor or help being returned. It's not easy to do. It never has been. Many people get into "agreements" where they will do one thing for another in return. Sometimes you need to scratch and back without a scratch in return. You need to be OK with that and you may be surprised how truly appreciative those you do this to will be.
2 - Give more than necessary. Giving is a nice thing to do. People may request your time or experience or whatever and you may give it freely. Next time, try and find a way to give just a little bit more than asked. I feel it's a matter of asking yourself, "What could I do to take this from being nice to being unexpected?" I often think, "This is great, but what could I do to make it better?" That's a concept of always bettering yourself and what you do. It's called growth.
3- Giving is a gift from you and to you. Do you ever notice how when you do something for others how good you feel afterward? Who gets more joy at Christmas...the gift giver or the receiver? Many times it's the gifts we give that make us feel the best. It should be that in every way we give. Whether we give our time or our talents or a listening ear, we get a ton from giving. Giving is like a boomerang. Get ready for it to come back simply by sending your gift out there.
While I certainly hope that insurance representative has found success doing something else, it will be a constant reminder to me to be glad I can get up each day and offer what I do to others and their families. Every client matters. Every company I serve in is a blessing filled with people who need what I do and I am grateful to give.
Look for ways to give...and give your best. You'll be better and so will the world around you.
The video below was a JCPenney initiative from a few years ago where random people got selected to give and were told to go find a stranger and give to them what they wanted for the holidays. Yes, it's a touching video and something that shows in a material way what I was saying above. Enjoy and have asuper holiday season: